Did you ever take a magnifying glass outside, focusing the light on a blade of grass or a piece of paper until it burst into flames?
It was fascinating to watch the magnifying glass take the sun rays and concentrate them into a single, intense beam of light with the power of focus.
What happens when you apply the power of focus to your money?
This is the power of focus; taking many scattered attempts/thoughts and concentrating them on a single goal, giving you the amazing ability to accomplish quickly what you have set before you.
Money is one of the things we take for granted, falling into the hopeless mindset that the way our finances are right now, is the way they will always be. There is nothing which can be done to change our financial situation, so why even try? Isn’t that how we think?
When you take all your efforts and focus them on one financial goal, your work will be concentrated, bringing about an intensity which will result in your situation changing for the better. Guaranteed.
Take Megan for example. She and her husband decided to focus on paying off all their 30k in debt and were able to do so in just a couple of years by following a budget and paying off one at a time.
If you are trying to do several things all at once, paying off debt, building an emergency fund, building savings and investing for retirement, very little progress is made in any area.
It’s frustrating to work so hard, but have very little to show for it.
I have several ongoing savings goals, with varying degrees of success. The main priority is paying cash for my husband’s tuition, in order that he can graduate debt free. God continues to give us the ability to get through each semester without taking out loans.
However, building up a three month emergency fund, saving for a car, putting aside money for medical expenses, and now saving for a new mattress are all very lethargic in their growth. When these funds grow to be somewhat sizable, another tuition payment comes due and more money is needed. Guess which accounts are drained first?
There are so many things, I would love to be able to save up for, but I’ve come to accept that true progress can really only be made in one area at a time.
And for now, getting my hubby to graduation day takes priority.
It is essential to pick one money goal and focus all your efforts to see the change you so desire. However, before you just jump in head first, it is important to take a step back and think about a couple of things.
What frustrates you the most about your money situation? What do you want to change? Are you so tired of the stress and frustration that you are willing to do the work to change?
No, really. Take a moment to feel the weight of the frustration and stress you feel.
Does it make you have a physical reaction?
Handling money is more about your behavior than it is following a specific system. Until you have absolutely had it and are willing to draw a line in the sand saying, ‘today is the day I am going to change my financial situation (_____ insert your own situation here)’, you will not make much progress on your financial goals.
The pain of staying where you are at, has to be greater than the pain of busting it to change your financial situation and to improve it. Are you ready to make a difference in your finances?
Now, that you have allowed yourself to come to a point of no return, you will be able to roll up your sleeves to do the work required, but where to start?
Start with Why
You have to start with your why.
Your why is all of the reasons why you want to handle money well and is different for each person. You can ask yourself some questions to clarify your why.
- What you want to do with your life if money is no object?
- What do you wish you could do, but are limited because you have too many payments?
- What dreams do you have?
- Where could you go?
- How do you want to provide for your family?
- What experiences could you have if you had extra money in the bank?
Knowing your why is the key to successfully living on a budget and to have the power of focus evident in your finances.
Set a foundation
Once you have decided what will motivate you, my recommendation would be to start with building up a $1,000 mini-emergency fund as quickly as you possibly can.
It is amazing how fewer emergencies come up when you have a $1,000 in the bank, and how many come your way when you don’t have any savings at all.
Once you have this mini-emergency fund set up, start paying off your debts smallest to largest, regardless of the interest rate. The less debt you have, the more freedom you have with your money and your risk goes down dramatically.
When you don’t have payments, you can make better financial choices over all and you have the flexibility to live your why, whatever that looks like in your life.
Are you in the middle of saving money towards several goals? You need to first prioritize your goals. Pick the most important one and concentrate your focus on building up your savings as quickly as possible.
The more you can focus on a single goal, the easier it will be to obtain it and the quicker progress you will make. You are willing to cut non-essentials out of your spending and also work more to bring in more income. Every extra dollar you come across or that is not needed for your monthly expenses is to be thrown at your goal.
Making your dream visual and tracking your progress are both fantastic way to keep up with your motivation all the way to the finish line. At first, I didn’t think making my money goals would really help, but I have been so amazed at how it clarified my goal, given hope and increased motivation, and the knowledge that all my hard work has a purpose.
It’s your turn to harness the power of focus on one money goal at a time and you will be amazed at what you are able to accomplish!